JDL: Good idea to ride the BNSF Aurora Line on your Chicago layover.
Which train are you arriving on and when does your connection leave Union Station?
Going to LaGrange (Road) would be my first choice with Hinsdale probably second.
You will probably see just about everything that the Race Track has to offer.
There are amenities within walking distance for food choices and refreshments.
Example: If you can go west on a weekday in the 3 PM hour and return east to CHI
after 6 PM you will see the PM rush. Make sure the eastbound train that you ride gets
back with ample time to allow you to prepare to board your second Amtrak train.
You should be fine provided that you do not trespass or block passenger pedestrian movements. I like to be able to read car numbers on passing equipment and for that
manner I tend to stand back away from the tracks well behind any safety lines and
barriers. I will seek out a strategic spot and than settle in to enjoy the "parade"...
BAR: The place where BNSF crosses over the IHB is an added feature that is within
walking distance of La Grange Road Station. That bridge was built back in 1977 as
a replacement to a previous bridge that collapsed during a serious train wreck on
August 27, 1977 - an eastbound freight train derailed blocking all three tracks and
than the wreckage was struck by the westbound San Francisco Zephyr. The result
was a pile-up of about 12 freight cars and both Amtrak SDP40F units #584, 587 at
the bridge causing it to collapse into the IHB tracks below. The Amtrak train carried
192 passengers - 24 injured and 8 Amtrak employees were treated and released.
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS